Vinyl siding and Fiber Cement are the 2 most popular siding exteriors currently on the market. Although similar, in look and feel, there are some subtle differences and unique features of each. Please take a look at the infographic below titled vinyl siding vs. fiber cement:
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The overall market in the siding industry is positive, as it continues to grow each and every year. Taken from the Freedonia Group on Siding, vinyl still commands a 27% market share in the overall market with Fiber cement close behind. However, vinyl’s lead is slowly slipping as more and more competitors enter the market giving more traditional and green siding options to the consumer. Fiber Cement is expected to grow by 8% annually & is slowly cutting into vinyl’s overall lead.
The material is what the siding is made of. For vinyl siding, it is 80% polyvinyl chloride, or PVC and 20% other material to give it its color, texture, and thickness. This material was first introduced in the 1950’s and has dramatically risen in popularity ever since. Fiber Cement is actually a cousin if the dangerous material asbestos. It is a mixture of sand, cement, and wood fibers minus the absestos.
Maintenance is how much labor, time, and cost it takes to keep the siding in its original installation state. Vinyl siding comes in a variety of colors solid throughout the material, thus never requires repainting. How to clean vinyl siding is simple just use some soap and a garden hose. Fiber cement, on the other hand, requires periodic repainting to retain color, as well as spot caulking to prevent moisture damage & rot.
The cost of siding is probably the most important factor when deciding which option to go with. For budget conscious homeowners, vinyl siding is much cheaper than its cousin fiber cement. And will cost around $3 – $6 per square foot. The cost of fiber cement per square foot will be around $6 – $11 installed. Be sure to check out the siding estimator to get a rough estimate how much you can expect to pay
Color options in siding are very important, especially if you already have certain colors you need to match. Vinyl siding comes in over 360 color options according to VSI Vinyl Siding Institute. With fiber cement, since it can be painted, there are as many colors as there are paint. The pre painted boards, from James Hardie, come in a limited 23 color options.
For the handymen out there and you do it yourself types, siding installation is no easy task. Especially when you have multiple stories and your up 20 feet of the ground. Fortunately, for vinyl siding, it is straightforward and simple. Cut and install with no special tools required. It is also lightweight and easy to lift. Fiber cement, is much heavier and will require some muscle and multiple crew for installation as well as special tools for cutting. If it is not prefinished it will need to be primed, painted, and caulked.
Look & Texture
The look and feel of your siding is probably one of the most important things in deciding what kind of siding you will buy. Vinyl siding is superior in color and decorative options with a wide variety. Clapboard, Dutch lap, Shakes, board and batten, shingles, etc… Fiber cement is growing in the number of profile options such as half-round and long plank boards.
The energy efficiency of house siding is measured by the R-Value or thermal resistance of a material. For vinyl, standard reading comes with an R-Value of .61. However, vinyl can also be insulated boosting the R Value to 2.0 – 3.0! Fiber cement comes in slightly under vinyl siding at .5, there is no option for insulated fiber cement.
Eco friendly or green siding, is becoming more and more popular as homeowners look to be friendly towards the environment. For vinyl siding, PVC will not degrade and is somewhat toxic sitting in landfills. Fiber cement, on the other hand is made from cement and wood pulp, so it should not impact the environment in land fills. However, it does take more energy to install.
How long will your siding last until it needs to be replaced or repaired as well as what is the warranty? These are essential questions to know when choosing the type of siding for your home. Vinyl siding comes with a 25-30 year warranty and is non-absorptive. Fiber cement, has some warranties that last 30-50 years although fiber cement is an absorptive material susceptible to moisture/rot if not properly maintained.